SW Florida inventory and real estate demand fell slightly in the last week. Inventory fell because 99 single family homes expired at the end of April. We will be watching to see how many of these homes are relisted plus the new listings that hit the market.

Real Estate Demand Fell Slightly in Last Week

Real estate demand fell this past week, and that may have been caused by rising interest rates. We have seen rates falling for several weeks; however, they have risen the past two weeks. We are not convinced the market is this interest rate sensitive, although we have seen a high correlation between modest rate movements and movement in pending sales in the past several months.


 All eyes this week will be on the Fed’s decision, and more importantly their commentary on what they believe their actions might be in the future. The failure of First Republic Bank could influence commercial real estate lending but should have no effect on residential real estate lending.

Jobless claims are a lagging indicator. We expect jobless claims to rise someday as vacant jobs leave the marketplace and companies continue to cut back. All the Fed’s actions to tame inflation will help to tame price increases in real estate. The cost of borrowing has risen and that helps cap what consumers can afford to pay for housing.


 What we do not know is how this will affect Florida. Florida seems to be better off than many states, so people’s desire to move here may offset dampening economic conditions elsewhere.

Insurance is one topic that is on the mind of many homeowners. Costs are rising and insurance companies are still in trouble. It may take another year or more for the insurance market to stabilize. Re-insurance is an increasing cost for insurers adding pressure to their decision to write new polices or stay in business.

Debt Ceiling

 Perhaps the biggest wildcard is the looming debt ceiling battle. The US is simply spending too much, and everybody knows it. The dollar is being replaced as the trading currency of choice. Should the US default on it’s debt, which is highly unlikely, it would bring grave consequences. As we get closer to the debt deadline, rate may get a little wonky, and it will bring unpredictability in the economy, and perhaps the lending markets. This could bleed through to Wall St and the real estate markets too if we’re not careful.

The reason we feel a default is unlikely is because the treasury secretary can cut services before defaulting on actual debt. Cutting services would be extremely unpopular, but far less catastrophic than defaulting. We might never recover from an actual default.

We are not sure how cutting services would affect FHA and VA loans, or the secondary markets. The Fed has been buying assets and treasuries. If they can no longer do this, the free market might take over and rates could soar. It would be hard to choose between cutting back on the military or food stamps versus monetary policy that could drastically change our debt structure and affect rates. Single handedly rates could change drastically overnight, and what would that do to the real estate market?

An overhaul of the budget needs to be made, that is for sure. How we do it, and how soon they make progress will determine much more than people realize. Stay tuned, and stock up on the popcorn. Not only will it be a heck of a show, but it might also be what’s for dinner if we don’t get this debt under control.

If you’re considering selling, Always Call Sande Ellis or Brett Ellis at the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty 239-310-6500. We’ll help you navigate through these wildcards. Be sure to ask about our 8-day sale program.

Good luck, and Happy Selling!

Lee County median sales prices declined $10,500 in March 2023 from February. This is significant because median home prices generally increase throughout the season. We have been reporting for months that home prices dropped in 2022 but nobody realized it because most people focus on year over year numbers.

Lee County Median Sales Prices Decline in March

Year-over-year median prices were up 1.9% in March. The median sales price this year stands at $437,000. Last march it was $429,000. In February of this year the median price was $447,500. Looking forward, the official number for April 2022 was $470,000. If the median sales price doesn’t climb to $470,000, we’ll be reporting the first year-over-year loss in a while. About 6 months ago we predicted we would see this drop with the April or May numbers.

Preliminary April Numbers

 One thing that could change Lee County median sales prices that is if April sales numbers come in higher. Preliminary numbers reported through April 25th when this article was written suggest numbers of $445,000. This number will be off because there are some closings that haven’t been reported yet, and some closings that haven’t taken place yet.

The end of the month always includes several sales. If the $445,000 number holds up. It would be a 5.32% drop.

Why Studying the Market Matters

 We study the market to give our clients an advantage. For instance, years ago when we saw our Current Market Index turn negative, we got all our sellers out before the big price decreases. It’s never fun to be caught chasing the market down. When the market is moving upward, it is important for buyers to get in there quickly and beat out other buyers to hot new listings. Waiting literally costs the buyers money.


 We are not making predictions about the market here. We’ll save that for our clients. We are simply reporting what we are seeing. The predictions about when we would see negative numbers weren’t really a prediction about the market. That was more of a mathematical equation that was going to reveal itself in the future, and the future is almost here.

We believe home sellers are going to be just fine moving forward. Sellers must price their home correctly and market it correctly and success will follow. Today’s Current Market Index is stable, so we don’t see large price fluctuations anytime soon, unless market conditions change.

We do have the possibility of lower interest rates on the horizon as the economy slows down. Lower rates help borrowers afford more, which could lead to higher prices in the future. A declining economy may weigh against that as more buyers lose their jobs.


 The X factor will be how many people continue to relocate to Florida who do not need a job to purchase or have a job that will allow them to relocate. Those remote jobs are drying up as more employers require their workers to show up in person, but there are still some out there.

The true answer is nobody knows what the future of real estate prices will be in SW Florida. We are watching all the indicators driving values and on balance they appear to be neutral. If you have a property you’re considering selling, call Brett or Sande Ellis at 239-310-6500. We will be happy to guide you through your home’s value and what improvements if any would be most beneficial for your sale.

You can always visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com to get a Free Instant home value of your home. We think it’s kind of cool to track that value over time, which the system will do for you.

If you have your eye on a property but are not quite sure how to pull it off because you have a property you would need to sell, we should talk. We are experts at making things happen, and we have some creative financing options you might not know about that can help.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

Free Shred Event Saturday April 29th 10 AM- 12-PM

Link to Register

Ellis Team shred event April 2023

5846 Wild Fig Ln

Open House Sunday 12-3PM Whiskey Creek Area

3 Bed 2 Bath  $350,000



We’ve been studying net domestic migration trends to help us explain supply and demand for housing in Florida. While demand is down compared to last year, it is still strong enough to equal supply which is keeping housing prices stable.

People Leaving

Reports conflict about which states are losing the most. One prominent news source lists New Jersey as losing the most, while many others suggest New York, Illinois, California, and Michigan.  This could be because some are looking at percentages versus raw numbers, and others are studying data county by county. Suffice it to say, New York, Illinois, and California show up in just about every report we see.

Net Domestic Migration Trends Favor Florida

Net Domestic Migration Trends

The other thing we look at is where are these people fleeing to. In most reports, Florida and Texas are the clear winners. We also see North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Idaho.

With all these people moving to Florida, you would think we would have a supply imbalance. Inventory supply in SW Florida is holding steady after gaining in 2022 and early 2023. It is still rising, but minimally now. Pending sales are gaining weekly and meeting the supply.

Stabilized inventory could be a result of lower interest rates. Long term mortgage rates have fallen off their highs. Additionally, we are seeing the migration patterns continuing.

Before Covid

People forget these patterns were in place before Covid. Many think that Covid is what drove people to states like Florida and Texas. This is true. People did move here for the freedom and work from home atmosphere during Covid.  However, after Covid people are continuing to move to Florida for the low crime and low taxes. Not only are we seeing individuals choosing to move here, we are also seeing entire companies relocating to more tax-friendly states.

When a company decides to move it is like a slow-moving train. It takes planning and time to move a company, and these plans can be in the works for years. When a company announces a move today, the plan may have been initiated more than two or three years ago, depending on the size of the company and logistics.

We do not see the trends changing anytime soon. Because Florida is a popular state, and because we have limited housing supply, our prices should remain relatively stable. The people able to make the move in the next few years should do better than those that wait.

Two Reasons

We believe this for two reasons. Prices could keep escalating in Florida. Secondly, when enough people move out of the high-tax states, it leaves less people behind to pick up a larger share of the tax burden. Someday few will want to move to those states because the tax burden will be unbearable, and it could limit their ability to sell their homes at today’s prices. If they cannot sell their homes, some may stay and continue to suffer the high tax burden.

Southwest Florida should continue to do well. As we fill in, we expect more people to begin moving into central Florida and eventually the panhandle. Granted, the weather isn’t as nice as it is in SW Florida, but prices are less, and people may have to make choices if home prices stall up North.

Nationwide, we have housing shortage, so demand is up there with supply. The high tax states could continue to lose residents, and eventually this causes more funding stress, and the need for more taxes. It’s a loop that perpetuates itself, and it may not be good for real estate values in those states.

Bottom Line

Bottom line is Florida is one of the places to be, and the sooner people make the move we think the better off they’ll be for the reasons outlined above. Of course, not everybody can move here at once. We don’t have enough supply and not everyone is in a position job or family wise to make the move at once.

Real estate values in Florida should fare well, even if the economy dips into recession. SW Florida home values have done well coming out of recessions in the past, and we see the demographics setting up nicely shout a recession occur again.

To search for your piece of paradise, check out www.LeeCountyOnline.com where you’ll find some features no other website has. Or call us at 239-489-4042 and we’ll be glad to help.

We have fresh residential SW Florida residential inventory supply numbers to report for April 2023. The overall single family inventory supply stands at 3.03 months, up from 2.81 months in February.

Each week we evaluate inventory supply numbers, and we’ve reported how they have been going up since last year. For instance, on April 12th of 2022 Lee County had 1,337 single family homes on the market. In 2023 we have 3,740. That is a 179.73% increase in inventory in one year.

SW Florida Residential Inventory Supply Gains by Price Range

We like to break it down by price range. Where we see the most inventory gains are in the higher price ranges. The $400-$600k price range increased from 2.82 months in February to 3.38 months currently. Even more gains can be seen in the $600k-$1 million price range which increased from 3.27 months in February to 4.20 months now. That is almost a one-month gain in inventory.

SW Florida Residential Inventory Supply by Price Range

The $1 million + market did gain a full month in inventory going from 5.35 months in February to 6.35 months now. The $200k-$300k markets lost inventory in the past two months, while the $100k-$200k markets gained slightly.

Rising inventory underscores the need to do two things to achieve success when selling. A home should be properly priced to attract all the buyers for a home, and it should be marketed to all those potential buyers.  Let me explain further.

When a home is overpriced, it is not reaching the true buyers for that home. The home attracts higher priced buyers whom after investigating the home are disappointed because the home does not measure up to other similarly priced homes they are looking at. The higher priced buyers balk at the home and make offers on other homes that offer more of what they are looking for.

The true buyer for the home never sees the home because it isn’t on their radar. It is over their price range, so they do not even see the home on their search. It might as well be invisible.

TV Guide

Think of it like a TV Guide. You can choose to see all channels, or just the ones you are subscribed to. Let’s say Comcast or DirectTv offer 1,200 channels but you subscribe to 140. Most people don’t want to waste time searching through channels they can never watch. It is not only frustrating but time consuming to do over and over every time you want to see something. The same is true when searching for homes. It is frustrating to see homes you can never afford when you are seriously looking to purchase. The serious buyers do not want to waste their time. The casual lookers don’t mind wasting their time, or yours. They aren’t going to buy anyway, they’re just looking to see what’s out there killing time.

Market to Every Buyer

Secondly, once you’ve identified true buyers for your home, you must market to them. Fortunately, our company has developed a new form of marketing that leverages online technology to identify the best potential buyers for any home in America in just 72 hours. Once we’ve identified the best buyers for your home, we can create a competitive environment which validates your home’s desirability. Identifying buyers quickly keeps your home from sitting on the market for months causing buyers to think it’s overpriced.

Sell in 8 Days

Sellers love the program because we can sell most homes in 8 days or less. It’s no fun having your home on the market for months, keeping your home clean everyday for showings, and reducing your price while your neighbors sell their home. Our program sells homes for thousands more than the traditional way of selling, and it’s fast. To learn more, simply call 239-444-8150 or visit www.MyHomeSoldin8Days.com

We have a program to sell your home in 8 days for thousands more than the traditional way. Local agents didn’t understand the program, and neither did we until we researched it.

Sell Your Home in 8 Days

72SOLD is a company in Arizona that changed how real estate was sold in that state. The program was so successful that other companies started noticing. And yet, they couldn’t quite understand how they were doing it.

The Ellis Team are Regional Directors with 72SOLD

We were elated when we found out Keller Williams partnered with 72Sold to bring the program national. Immediately we signed up for the training, and we were blown away at the potential. We spoke with many of our Arizona agent friends who personally witnessed the amazing results.

After training for several months, the Ellis Team began using the program. I personally have used the program 7 times. 6 of the 7 homes sold within 2 weeks, and most within 8 days. One listing did take a little longer. The sellers were amazed at how much we got for their home, and how quickly it sold.

Sellers really appreciated the process. Many didn’t want to show the home for months on end, and they appreciated getting Top Dollar while selling quickly. When we sit down and show the program to sellers, they wonder why everyone doesn’t sell their home this way. The 72SOLD program really changes the way real estate is sold. The Ellis Team is grateful we can offer this program.

We still have the option to sell your home the traditional way. In most cases, sellers choose the new way. We knew the results in Arizona were good, but would this work in Florida? After using the system, we can say we love the results.

What the Program is Not

Can we tell you what the program is not? It is not a guarantee that if you list your home it will sell in 8 days for double or triple what the market will pay. There are selling techniques we as agents must follow, and of course there are market conditions we must consider.  The program is filled with probability increasers, so using each technique increases your chances of selling. If we use all of them, the results speak for themselves. In fact, three independent studies have shown that homes using this program sell for 8.4%-12% higher than the MLS average and faster.

Unsatisfied in the Past

Perhaps you’ve sold homes in the past and you weren’t entirely satisfied with the process. Maybe you tried to sell your current home and failed. Perhaps you’d like to sell your current home but don’t want to pay high fees and get the same results everyone else in the neighborhood has gotten.

If you’d like to make a move, we should talk. We may be able to shorten the process of selling your home for you, and get you Top Dollar too. We have several local home sellers that have tried it and wouldn’t sell any other way. Let’s have a conversation and see if we can help you too.

Give Sande Ellis or Brett Ellis a call at 239-310-6500 and find out what we can sell your home for. Or visit www.MyHomeSoldin8Days.com We can sell your home now or wait for a time that’s better for you. The program works in all markets, good and bad. The program was built before the multiple offer market and has evolved since then. Each week we meet 3 times per week on a national call and implement new proven changes to the program. We are learning based and continue to tweak the program, and having thousands of transactions each quarter helps us learn and improve together.

Put the power of Keller Williams, the Ellis Team, and the 72SOLD program to work for you! We look forward to having a conversation with you.

Good luck, and Happy Selling!

One question we get frequently is where are real estate prices headed, North or South? Buyers want to know, and sellers want to know.

Real Estate Prices Headed North or South

The perfect answer is nobody knows for sure, and the market will determine the outcome. A lot of forces are in play that will influence the market. The good news is history and data leave clues. Let’s break down what we know and what history suggests could happen.

Post Hurricane Pricing

Last October we wrote an article entitled Past Hurricane Sales Pricing Data.  We showed the pricing trends after Hurricane Charley and Hurricane Irma. It’s also important to note the economic conditions at those times back in 2004 and 2017. Our conclusion was that neither hurricane impacted prices. The economy itself was a larger determinant of what happened following the hurricane than the actual event was.

As of this date, closed sales are running almost identical to 2020. In other words, closed home sales are running ahead of 2018, the year after Hurricane Irma. Keep in mind after Hurricane Irma our area was plagued with red tide and blue green algae. While we have had red tide in spurts in 2023, we’ve experienced nothing like we did in 2018. Let’s keep our fingers crossed because 2020 wasn’t a bad year for home sales until Covid squashed home sales in April and May. We rebounded nicely after that, and the rest is history for Florida home sales.

Seasonal Peaks

Traditionally median and average home sale prices peak in April or May, depending on which statistic you look at. We have a few more months left to fully evaluate if we can get back to 2022 levels or surpass them. If we do not, it would not be surprising to see home prices lower year over year the rest of the year. We wrote several articles on that in the past.

One trend we have noticed is pending sales have been tracking interest rates. As rates creep up, pending sales have retreated. As we have received reprieves in rates in certain weeks, pending sales pick right back up. Rates have been down the past few weeks; however, we see them creeping up again.

Interest Rates

Wall street is split on whether the Fed is done raising rates. Some say, including Fed chairman Powell, and some Fed governors, they will raise more. Others say the Fed will have to begin lowering rates as soon as this summer.

If you’re confused, you’re not alone. Wall Street doesn’t know either. If history holds true, we will be watching interest rates.  When rates fall below 6%, we could see a resurgence in home buyer activity. If they fall below 5%, we could see prices rise again.

Inventory is Growing

Home inventory has more than doubled in the last year. In fact, our numbers show it tripled. Still, they are low historically speaking, which has helped keep prices up. There would be a lot more listings if sellers were not trapped in their home by low interest rates. So many home sellers would make a move, but they don’t want to give up sub 3% rate on their home.

As the months and years go by, people’s lives change and you will begin to see more homes go on the market. Additionally, when interest rates begin falling, we may see an increase as well. It will be interesting to see how much the demand picks up with falling rates, as well as the supply.

Real Estate Prices Headed North or South?

That mathematical equation will probably determine where home prices go.  If you have a home to sell, you should talk to Brett or Sande about our 8-Day Program that nets sellers thousands more than the traditional way. Simply call us 239-444-8150 to get our price on your home.

Last week I watched a speaker and a quote stood out to me “In uncertain times trust experience.” As I thought about what he said, it made perfect sense.

Uncertain Times Trust Experience

We don’t control all the circumstances and events that surround us. I believe people get frustrated when they cannot control things they are used to controlling. It is the loss of control, or the feeling of control that causes anxiety.


 The reality is, perhaps we never controlled what we thought we did. What if the best managers are just better at adapting to changes and offering solutions? Everyone loves to have a sense of control. When you have to depend on others to do their job, we must realize that we give up some control.

Most Realtors I know attempt to take control back. We all prefer loans go through the lenders of our choosing because we have a high degree of confidence they will close. The same is true with inspectors, title insurance companies, insurance agents, etc. We deal with people we know because we know they are experienced and know how to do their job.

When an issue arises, we don’t yell at them and tell them to fix it. We work with them to fix it, because we have a high degree of respect and trust for that person. We trust that what they are telling us is a real issue, because they have knowledge and experience. We also trust that together we can find a way to overcome the issue and resolve it.

The bottom line is, we control what we can and trust others to help us. Agents with experience learn to do their job better than all other agents, and have the wisdom and experience to trust professionals with a proven track record to help in areas we cannot. The wisdom comes in knowing what we are capable of, and knowing who the best people are for the things we cannot.

Stay in Your Lane

 For instance, a good real estate agent shouldn’t be giving legal or tax advice. That should be reserved for the lawyers and accountants. A good real estate agent should know who some good lawyers and accountants are and be able to give recommendations. The same is true for architects, appraisers, inspectors, title companies, insurance, lenders. pest control, roofers, etc. Nobody can do it all, nor should they.

Experienced agents have been here before.  The Ellis Team has already worked through banking, insurance, housing, lending crises. While we didn’t always have all the answers the first time, we found them through hard work and talking with the right people. Crisis comes and goes. In uncertain times trust experience, and nobody is more experienced than the Ellis Team.  Brett and Sande have worked through many real estate cycles and know how to handle a good crisis. Sometimes it’s because we have experience in that issue. Other times, it’s a new crisis, and we have experience dealing with new issues.

Experience Develops Process

 The issue itself isn’t always the problem. The process of overcoming a problem is the answer, and experienced agents know how to overcome problems, new and old.

Have you ever watched someone make more of a problem than it really is? That’s typically because they don’t know how to tackle the issue.  It takes a certain set of skills and experience to overcome an issue. In the end, issues are just issues. We make them go away because we overcome them, somehow, some way, whenever possible. Sometimes it’s knowing what questions to ask, or who to ask. Other times it’s not panicking. Inexperienced people panic.

Experience Matters

 When there is a horrible crash, you want an experienced surgeon in the ER who has been there before. They don’t panic. They find solutions, even if they’ve never treated a stop sign sticking through a human leg. The same is true in real estate. Perhaps we’ve never had a person’s title stolen 3 days before closing. We will find a resource that can help our client.

Bottom line: In uncertain times trust experience. They can get you out of crisis, or steer you clear of crisis in the first place, because they’ve either been there before, or know the process of tackling the issue.

Always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty 239-310-6500 Put our experience to work for you!

Today we’d like to let our readers know about the banking crisis short-term opportunity for buyers. By now everyone has heard about the banking crisis that brought down 2 banks in the US and put pressure on several regional banks.

This banking crisis may affect borrowers in the short-term and create real opportunity in a few ways.  Let’s explain why, and how these banks became under pressure.

How it Started

Silicon Valley Bank lent out money on risky capital venture clients.  This did not help, but it is not what really got them into trouble.  The trouble point was an asset-liability mismatch. They took in deposits from wealthier clients and reinvested that money into safe US treasury bonds. I say safe, because they are guaranteed by the full faith and credit of the United States. The unsafe part was mismatching the maturity dates. SVB was forced to rely on buying treasuries because loan demand fell due to rising rates.

As rates began to rise, wealthier clients expected more return on the deposit side, and they knew how to switch banks and investment vehicles if they didn’t get it. Many of the larger banks are under a CET1 capitalization ratio of around 12.5%. Banks like SVB may have only been at 7%.

The deposits were invested in bonds and guaranteed safe.  However, they did not expect people to withdraw money so fast seeking higher returns. SVB got caught short on their cash. Remember, they only had 7% minimum they had to carry. They could sell the US Bonds, but bond prices have an inverse relationship to yield. As yields went up by the Fed raising rates, the locked in invested bonds by SVB were at lower rates. To meet the cash drawdown from depositors seeking higher return, they had to sell those US bonds at a discount.

Proper Risk Management

Selling their assets at a discount further exacerbated their capitalization requirement. They went from a minimum of 7% down to zero. In essence, they were insolvent, even though they had invested in high quality guaranteed assets. The bank couldn’t wait for them to mature to pay off depositors seeking higher return. SVB couldn’t match the higher rates because they didn’t have sufficient yield spread as they were locked into lower rates. In essence, they were caught flat footed. Supposedly Silicon Valley Bank dropped a hedge against rising rates in 2022. Some speculate this was to boost profits at the expense of unnecessary risk.

Rapidly rising interest rates put pressure on banks like SVB and some regional banks. Loan demand fell. They had to get income from bonds, but those bonds went down in value everyday as rates rose. It was a catch-22.

Ironically, the Fed may have to slow down or pause rate hikes to save the banks. Most experts feel like the Fed needs to raise the terminal rate to above the inflation rate. This would require rates to rise, but maybe they can’t. And maybe layoffs and the banking crisis which may lead to less lending in and of itself will help with inflation.

One thing is for sure. Washington has to quit spending more money and injecting more money supply into the economy. This is what caused inflation, and it is making the Fed’s job tougher. The tougher the Fed’s job is, the more pressure it puts on jobs, banking, and everything in the economy.

Banking Crisis Short-Term Opportunity

Banking Crisis Short-Term Opportunity for Buyers

Look at the weekly inventory graphs. Rates were rising the past 2 weeks, and so was inventory for both single family and condo.  Rates took a tumble this past Monday on the banking crisis news.  This may cause the Fed to slow down future rate hikes to protect the banks. This could be the short-term opportunity buyers have been waiting for. If so, look for inventory to fall if buyers snatch up more properties.

Banking Crisis Short-Term Opportunity Condo Inventory

By Tuesday rates were headed back up. We’ll be watching. Next week will be a big week when the Fed announces March 22nd.

If you have a property to sell in SW Florida, call Brett or Sande Ellis at 239-310-6500. Or visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com to get your instant value. If you’re a buyer, call one of our buyer specialists at 239-489-4042 or visit www.LeeCountyOnline.com to search the MLS. Opportunity is knocking!

The Ellis Team has created a new online home value analysis tool that allows us to track your home’s value over time from many of the online valuation sites. While these sites cannot be relied upon as 100% accurate, they do give us some insights.

Watch the Direction

Perhaps more important than the value it places upon your property is the direction of the market. Is the market going up or down for your property?  Most sellers want to know how the market is doing for their home.

Because we have premium access to many of the online valuation sites, we are able to log into the major sites and enter the data into a spreadsheet.  We then email you the results based upon the schedule we have for you. Here is a sample of what the report looks like.

Online Home Value Analysis Tool

We have  ****** out the various services here but they will be shown on your actual report. The computers will never be as accurate as we are as they have never been in your home and studied the condition of your home or evaluated some of the improvements the computer may not know about. You can always receive our home value analysis at www.SWFLhomevalues.com  Read below on how to get all the home value estimates and track over time.

Appraisers Being Replaced?

We are hearing that many of the lenders are going to online valuations versus actual appraisals in many instances, so knowing what the computers think is important. Personally, we believe there will always be a need for appraisers but lenders are rethinking that in some cases.

As interest rates were rising in 2022, we noticed median and average home values began to fall. The computers were delayed and were still showing price increases. Perhaps the specific homes we were checking on were still rising. Or perhaps the computers took time to pick up on the price declines. In the last month or so we have noticed the computers picking up on price changes.

This is why we say computers may not be as good as we are are at studying the market, but they are important to watch.

Online Home Value Analysis Tool Schedule

Compiling the data is a bit of work for us, so we want to prioritize those that need it most. We will perform this service free of charge for you based upon the following schedule.

Online Home Value Analysis Tool Schedule
Online Home Value Analysis Tool Schedule

If your circumstances change, you can always let us know and we can adjust the schedule.  Please call us at 239-310-6500 or email Brett at Brett@Topagent.com with your property address, email address and time frame and we will get you on the schedule!

Should I Sell Now?

Many sellers want to stay in their home as long as possible especially when prices are still rising. Some owners want to capture the equity they have built up in recent years. Nobody wants to sell when prices are still rising, unless they area fearful the market has neared its top. Sometimes values in a spreadsheet over time helps sellers identify trends and confirm their feelings on prices.

Brett and Sande Ellis would be happy to discuss your situation and help you decide if now is the right time for you to sell. We’ll look at where you would go, how much you would net at closing, and look at all your options. We are not high pressure.

If selling is the right option for you, we have a program to sell your home in 8 days, so you’re not caught chasing the market. Call us at 239-310-6500 and we’ll discuss your options.

Good luck, and Happy Selling!

Big Mortgage Changes Coming


RV Alert

Our Review of the Liquid Springs Suspension System on a new 2023 Fleetwood Southwind 37F


We’ll write a future blog post about the Liquid Springs soon for our RV’ers who may be interested.

We want to alert you to big mortgage changes coming that will affect home buyers and sellers soon. Effective May 1st, all loans sold and secured through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will incur significant charges in three key areas. What this means is loans will need to be funded sometime in April to avoid these extra charges. The extra charges are in addition to rising interest rates.

Big Mortgage Changes Coming

Credit Score

The top tier credit score used to be 740. That is changing to 780. For borrowers with less than a 780 credit score there will be a premium added to the yield.  The lower the score, the more premium will be added. The increased yield can lead to either additional closing costs or higher interest rate, or both.

Amount Down

Borrowers putting 30% or more down with a 760 credit score escape the amount down premium.  Pretty much everyone escapes this premium with 70% down. As you can see from the chart, the credit score and amount down are interrelated.

Debt to Income Ratio

Borrowers whose total debt to income including the home loan exceeds 40% will also pay a premium of .25% to .375% unless they are putting 40% down.

As an example, a borrower with a 740 credit score putting 20% down on a $400,000 loan will pay an extra $1,500. The same borrower with a debt to income ratio of over 40% will pay an additional $1,500 for a total of $3,000 in extra costs. That money must come from somewhere. Either the buyer or seller must pay it, or it may get added to the rate.

Other Loan Types

People buying condos, second homes, investment properties, and other types of loans may also see some price increases.

Good News for FHA and VA Loans

There is some good news. FHA and VA are lowering their costs to borrow. The net result is we predict more buyers will utilize FHA and VA when they can. Sellers will learn to appreciate this too because FHA and VA buyers may have an easier time qualifying for a loan under the new guidelines. Sellers should not be afraid of these loans given the new lending landscape.

There are some downsides to FHA. The MIP (Mortgage Insurance Premium) of 1.75% is paid upfront. Not over time. For those with less than 5% down, the MIP never goes away, so FHA buyers should consider putting 5% down instead of the minimum 3.5% down.

VA buyers will also save by putting 5% down versus the minimum 0% down.

Big Mortgage Changes Coming-Overall Market Impact

Conventional costs and interest rates are going up. FHA and VA re lowering costs which means those loans will gain market share and increase in popularity. Look for more buyers to ask sellers for concessions and closing costs.


If you are a buyer or seller, it would be best to get your property under contract by about March 15th. Any time after that costs will go up. This will affect home buyers and it could ultimately affect home sellers too depending on demand.

The cost of waiting has never been greater. Not only are the costs of borrowing going up, but the actual rates are too. This is a double whammy for buyers. The triple whammy is rental rates are also skyrocketing, so they have no protection against rising housing costs. The only way renters can protect themselves is to purchase and lock in those rates. The big mortgage changes coming will force buyers to pay more for their loan or consider options to reduce costs.

If you are borrowing conventional, do so by March 15th. Otherwise, consider FHA or VA after that date, but keep in mind there are loan limits by county for FHA.